We have just come through a test — and triumph — of our local democracy.
As coronavirus challenged voting this year, Orange County’s democracy emerged stronger, with a smooth election and nearly 90% turnout, the highest in half a century.
In Anaheim, Orange County’s largest and most prominent city, voters sent a clear message of support for our city’s ongoing fight against coronavirus and for our work on economic relief and recovery.
Voters ushered in two new councilmembers, Jose Diaz and Avelino Valencia, who share our vision of safely restoring and building the heart of our economy — theme parks, sports and entertainment.
Our two newly elected members join reelected Councilmember Steve Faessel, who won decisively in Anaheim’s District 5, home to Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Honda Center.
The new and returning members join continuing Councilmembers Trevor O’Neil, Jordan Brandman and myself in strong support of Anaheim’s economy and the role it plays for our residents and neighborhoods.
Voters once again embraced a model that has built our modern city, starting with Disneyland in the 1950s, the Anaheim Convention Center and Angel Stadium in the 1960s and Honda Center in the 1990s.
That same model will see us recover from the coronavirus downturn, with major investment planned around Angel Stadium and Honda Center and continued expansion at the Disneyland Resort. That will bring vital new revenue to help Anaheim recover and allow us to serve our neighborhoods for decades to come.
For now, we continue our fight against a second wave of coronavirus.
Anaheim has done more than any other city in Orange County, spending $35 million on food relief, rent assistance and business grants, while working with the county of Orange to expand testing across our city.
This past weekend, we brought mobile testing directly to some of our most impacted neighborhoods, serving more than 400 people.
For some, it was their only access to testing.
And we have tested thousands at the Anaheim Convention Center and at Anaheim City Hall.
With the renewed support of voters, we will continue expanding testing and offering help as Anaheim and all of Orange County address a rise in cases.
We also stand ready to implement vaccines as soon as they are available.
The great thing about democracy is that when all is said and done, the voice of the people is all that counts.
If you saw some media stories and commentary in the past few months, you might have thought our city was divided over the future of Angel Stadium, our support for safely reopening our theme parks and convention center and for responsibly restoring our economy.
The election really showed how off that was.
In fact, the election’s outcome is an important reminder for all of us to sort through distractions and focus on what’s really important to Anaheim residents.
To be sure, the coronavirus economic crisis has brought home just how critical Anaheim’s major economic drivers are to our city’s quality of life.
As Anaheim’s mayor, I welcome our new and returning councilmembers.
They will bring or continue to offer unique views on behalf of those they represent.
We may not always agree, and that is OK.
But, working on behalf of our residents, we will be united in our city’s ongoing fight against coronavirus and in safely restoring and building Anaheim’s economy.
Harry Sidhu is mayor of Anaheim.